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2018 APS Congress

The 2018 APS Congress will be held in Sydney from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 September 2018


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Award for Excellent PhD Thesis in Psychology

The Award for Excellent PhD Thesis is offered for the purpose of encouraging and rewarding outstanding research in psychology.

The Award may be offered at each Australian higher education provider that has an APAC accredited AOU.

Each year, up to three Awards for Excellent PhD Thesis may be conferred.

Eligibility criteria

  1. Candidates must be Members of the Society
  2. The Award for Excellent PhD Thesis may only be conferred upon Candidates who have, within fifteen (15) months of the closing date for nominations, received written advice from the Candidate’s tertiary institution confirming eligibility for conferral of the Candidate’s PhD in psychology.

Judging criteria

  1. In judging Candidates for the award, the selection committee will have regard to:
    1. The scientific creativity, quality and originality of the Candidate’s research
    2. The recognition and impact of the candidate’s research
    3. The level of research independence exhibited by the Candidate; and
    4. The Candidate’s potential future contribution to the discipline.

Value of the Award

  1. Successful Candidates for the Award for Excellent PhD Thesis will:
    1. Receive a grant of $1000
    2. Be offered membership of the Society for the following twelve (12) months at no cost.
    3. Be invited to present a paper on their work at the APS Congress in the year following receipt of the Award or, in years when no Congress will be held, at another high profile event. Upon acceptance of this invitation, successful Candidates will be entitled to complimentary:
      1. Domestic economy class travel between their home city to the Congress/event destination
      2. Accommodation (room and breakfast only) for up to three (3) nights at a hotel near the Congress/event venue
      3. Congress/event registration.
    4. Receive a plaque for the Award for Excellent PhD Thesis.


4.1 Nomination Process

  1. A call for nominations for the Award for Excellent PhD Thesis will be:
    1. Advertised in InPsych
    2. Provided to the Heads of School or Department of each higher education provider that offers the PhD in psychology.
  2. Candidates must be nominated by the Head of School or Department of the higher education provider where their PhD was conferred. Candidates may self-nominate to their Head of School or Department, but it is the Head of School or Department (or nominated delegate) who must submit the nomination to the Society.
  3. Only one Candidate can be nominated by the Head of School or Department of each AOU at each Australian higher education provider. All nominations from a Head of School or Department should be prepared by the Candidate’s supervisor in association with the Head of School or Department and the Candidate.
  4. Nominations should be submitted in writing using the Society’s nomination form and must include:
    1. Title, abstract, table of contents of the thesis with appropriate supportive evidence such as publications or conference presentations arising from the thesis and a copy of each of the examiner’s reports
    2. A copy of the Candidate’s written advice from their tertiary institution or higher education provider of eligibility for conferral of their PhD in psychology
    3. A statement confirming that the PhD is in psychology (e.g. topic, supervisor)
      If short-listed, submission of the thesis may be required.
  5. Nominations should be submitted electronically in PDF to the Administrator, Science and Education, Australian Psychological Society via science@psychology.org.au, by the closing date.

4.2 Selection Process

  1. A Selection committee will be responsible for
    1. Determining a shortlist of appropriate Candidates for receipt of the Award
    2. Recommending appropriate Candidates to the Board for endorsement.

4.3 Award Presentation

  1. All Candidates (both successful and unsuccessful) will be formally notified in writing before any public announcement is made.
  2. An acknowledgement of the successful Candidate will be published on the APS website and in the Society’s bimonthly bulletin, InPsych, and/or other relevant psychology and education publications in February of the year following the receipt of their Award.
  3. Each successful Candidate will be presented with an award plaque at the APS Congress in the year following the receipt of their Award or, in years when no Congress will be held, at another high profile event.

Application and closing date

Nominations for 2018 are now open and close 30 June 2018.

Please email the completed form and all supporting information to:

Any questions?

Ask the Science and Education team: science@psychology.org.au or (03) 8662 3300

Previous winners


Dr Caitlin Cowan, University of New South Wales
Thesis - Microorganisms to the rescue: The use of a probiotic treatment to reduce developmental vulnerability in rats

Dr Sophie Schneider, Macquarie University
Thesis - Body dysmorphic disorder in adolescents: Presentation, correlates, and sex differences

Dr Gemma Sharp, Flinders University 
Thesis - Predictors and outcomes of labiaplasty


Dr Kelly Allen, University of Melbourne
Thesis - In pursuit of belonging: A socio-ecological perspective of school belonging in secondary school settings

Dr Jasmine Fardouly, University of New South Wales
Thesis - The impact of appearance comparisons through social media on young women's body image

Dr Travis Wearne, Macquarie University
Thesis - Inhibitory regulation of the prefrontal cortex in an animal model of methamphetamine behavioural sensitization: implications of the maintenance of chronic psychoses


Dr Michael Bowen, University of Sydney
Thesis – Defensive aggregation to predatory threat in the laboratory rat: Behavioural, neural, pharmacological and epigenetic correlates

Dr Amy Dawel, Australian National University
Thesis – Face emotion processing and attention to eye-gaze: Typical development and associations with psychopathic traits and callous unemotional (CU) traits

Dr Benjamin Grafton, University of Western Australia
Thesis – Always look on the bright side of life: The attentional basis of positive emotional disposition


Dr Tamsyn Van Rheenan, Swinburne University of Technology
Thesis - Thinking, perceiving and regulating feeling: An investigation of neurocognition, social cognition and emotion regulation in bipolar disorder

Dr Joanna Fardell, University of Sydney
Thesis - Chemotherapy and cognitive function: An animal model of the long-term impact of chemotherapy on cognition

Dr Fiona Kumfor, University of New South Wales
Thesis - Emotion processing and its interactions with memory: Evidence from the dementias


Dr William Harrison, University of Queensland
Thesis – Influences on voluntary eye movements on object perception in peripheral vision

Dr Caroline Moul, University of New South Wales
Thesis - The Development and Assessment of a Differential Amygdala Activation Model in Psychopathy


Dr Amy Lampard, University of Western Australia
Thesis title - An evaluation of the cognitive-behavioural theory of bulimia nervosa

Dr Amy Morgan, University of Melbourne
Thesis title - Promotion of self-help strategies for sub-threshold depression: An e-mental health randomised controlled trial

Dr Jillian Pearsall-Jones, Curtin University
Thesis title - An investigation of motor and attentional deficits in children and adolescents using the monozygotic co-twin control design.

Dr Quincy Wong, University of New South Wales
Thesis title - The role of ruminative thinking in social phobia


Renita Almeida, University of Western Australia
Thesis title – An analysis of Embedded Figures Test performance in individuals with autistic-like traits

Bronwyn Graham, University of New South Wales
Thesis title – Fibroblast Growth Factor-2: A novel enhancer of memory

Paula Wye, University of Newcastle
Thesis title – Smoking in mental health hospitals: Policies, practices and perceptions


Dr Phoebe Bailey, University of New South Wales
Thesis: The social cognitive neuroscience of empathy in older adulthood

Dr Elizabeth Newnham, University of Western Australia
Thesis: Informing best practice in mental health: Using feedback to improve clinical outcomes

Dr Kiley Seymour, University of Sydney
Thesis: The neural basis of visual feature binding

Dr Emma Thomas, Australian National University
Thesis: Aligning identity, emotion and beliefs to boost commitment to international development and cooperation


Dr Lauren Staples, University of Sydney
Thesis: Predator odour-induced learning and anxiety in rats: A behavioural and neural investigation

Dr Alishia Williams, University of New South Wales
Thesis: Experiential Features of Intrusive Memories in Depression and the Role of Cognitive Avoidance in Intrusion Maintenance

Dr Mitchell Byrne, University of Wollongong
Thesis: Medication Alliance: Development and implementation of a mental health staff training program for the enhancement of patient medication adherence


Dr Jason Bell, University of Western Australia
Thesis: An analysis of global shape processing using radial frequency contours

Dr Nadine Kasparian, University of Sydney
Thesis: When melanoma runs in the family: An empirical examination of the psychological and behavioural characteristics of individuals with a family history of melanoma

Dr Jee Hyun Kim, University of New South Wales
Thesis: Extinction of conditioned fear in the developing rat


Dr Wayne Warburton, Macquarie University 

Dr Simon Wilksch, Flinders University 


Dr Ruth Brunsdon, Macquarie University

Dr Emma Collier-Baker, University of Queensland

Dr Jason Gallate, University of Sydney 

Dr Rachel Guthrie, University of NSW
Thesis: A prospective psychophysiological study of posttraumatic stress

Dr Alina Morawska, University of Queensland
Thesis: Efficacy and effectiveness of self-directed behavioural family intervention

Dr Anina Rich, University of Melbourne
Thesis: An investigation of the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying lexical-colour synaesthesia

(inaugural award)